Ban Moung is almost open-defecation free!
When CRDT visited Bang Moung village in Stung Treng province for the first time, at the start of this year (2018), just over half of the people had their own private toilet. The other half of the people still practiced open defecation. People were not aware that their day to day practice of open defecation and lack of sanitation posed major health risks to them, so people continued to defecate near trees or in the field. Children especially were at risk. Without proper sanitation, children had an increased risk of getting diseases ranging from diarrhoeal infections, which can lead to undernourishment, to serious chronically illnesses like polio which can impair children for the rest of their life.
We found that even if some households had their own toilet, this was not always sufficient because there was no hand washing facility near the toilet. The risks of transmittable diseases were still high. Even Mr. Bei Vosa, the village chief, had no hand washing facility at his toilet. He had a latrine for family use since 1995, but with no hand washing facility, sanitation was still limited. Having observed this, CRDT selected the village for a behavior change campaign that would transform the sanitation and, most importantly, sanitation behavior of the people in the village.
And indeed, how things have changed since our first visit! When we visited again this month, we were very glad to see that the village was almost open-defecation free! 150 out of a total of 158 households had their own toilet with hand washing facility. Mr. Bei Vosa now even has three toilets with hand washing facility. Mr. Bei Vosa, who is also leader of the campaign in the village says: ‘when people became aware of the connection between lack of sanitation, contaminated water, water-borne diseases and sickness, the people wanted to have a toilet constructed near their house to prevent these diseases’.
Cooperative efforts of Youth with a Mission, the CRDT, the Provincial Department of Rural Development and Mr. Bei Vosa and the villagers have made the village near safe from diseases related to poor sanitation. We will continue our work and are looking forward to celebrating yet another ODF village!
By Meas Viphou, Program Manager
Edits by Anton Neefjes, Communication Officer